Posts tagged “apps”.

iPad handwriting recognition apps found lacking

February 23rd, 2012

Brian Mikol at Atomic Firefly:

While there’s clearly a range of active third-party development going on to bring handwriting recognition to the iPad, unfortunately in my tests they’re far from the quality and accuracy offered by the last version of the Newton OS.

Mikol reviews several stylus options and a few iPad apps, looking for a potential replacement for his Newton in the iPad. His advice: try the free apps first, then spend money.

[via Newtontalk]

Newton quote of the week: retail boxes

October 27th, 2009

“Efforts by Palm, Microsoft, and Symbian to encourage the development of third party software for their mobile platforms, much like Apple’s early 90s attempt to market the original Newton MessagePad, largely just copied the desktop PC software model of letting developers ship retail boxes of software on their own. The result was less successful than the PC desktop, with generally poor quality and often unfinished software titles available at only relatively high prices.”

- Prince McLean at RoughlyDrafted Magazine.

The early days of the Newton featured this boxed-software model, but as the Internet came of age Newton users could find apps online. Now sites like UNNA.org (and sometimes eBay) are the only places to find available apps for the Newton.

These days, if you want something for your MessagePad or eMate, you’ve got to hunt for it.

Everyday examples of Newton use

September 14th, 2009

newtonyoucanuse

For probably one of the most fascinating explorations of every day uses for your Newton, visit the conversation kicked off by Chris C. at the NewtonTalk list (hit the “Next in thread” link to go from e-mail to e-mail), called “A Day in the life of…”

For a down-and-dirty view, see Don Zahniser’s story. He talks about running a small farm and using Dateman (for to-dos), Notes (grocery lists and garden yields), Works, and more.

Morgan Aldridge has a good breakdown, too, showing which apps he uses throughout the day – everything from PocketMoney to Bills To Pay.

The entire thread is great for discovering apps you’ve never tried out, and practical uses for them in day-to-day life. I found a few I want to try. Browse around the United Network of Newton Archives (UNNA.org) to download some of the apps.

Back when I used my Newton for personal information management (PIM) and notes management, I stuck to the basics like Notes, Dates, To-Dos, and a few games here and there. That’s what is nice about the Newton: you can pick it up and use it as-is.

[Via NewtonTalk.]

11 Ways Newton is STILL better than iPhone

September 22nd, 2008

So you went to an Apple store, made your purchase, sold your soul to some wireless carrier, and now you have tons of free apps downloaded and your voicemail is all set up. You’re an iPhone 3G owner. What makes you so special? It might be that you don’t have an Apple Newton MessagePad to play around with.

Here are ten eleven reasons to sell your 3G and take up the ten-years-abandoned Newton platform for fun and recreation:

  1. It’s cheaper. The Newton MessagePad 1×0 series may cost you $15-30, while the 2×00 series might cost you $100-200. But that’s it. Except for wireless cards and the extra stylus, there’s no “plan” or “rate” to buy in to. You pay for it once. That’s it.
  2. The batteries last longer. Way longer. Like, weeks longer. I’ve noticed that my 3G iPhone can last up to two days with light usage, but in the end I still have to plug it in. My Newton 110? I’ve lasted a month on the same Sanyo Eneloop batteries. No color and no wifi help, of course, but the point still stands.
  3. You can fax. Faxing may be on its way out, or at least moving to the electronic world, but the MessagePad’s ability to fax – with the special modem – can be an advantage if (Steve forbid) wifi or cell towers ever went down. It could happen, and faxing lets you use the tried-and-true phone lines to do your communicating. Someone may release a faxing iPhone app, but in the meantime, your MessagePad has the market covered.
  4. No in-store activation required. No lines, either, and if you use eBay, it’s not as scarce as you think.
  5. It’s more rugged. Drop your iPhone and step on it. Now drop your MessagePad and step on it. Which would survive the fall and subsequent stomping? Place your bets.
  6. Newtons qualify as “underground.” Retro. Rare. Counter-culture. Whatever you want to call it, the Newton fills the “not-everyone-has-one-so-mine-is-cool” gap the iPhone 3G left behind. Before, the iPhone 1.0 was the rare species, eliciting looks and whispers when someone whipped one out. Now, Apple is selling tons of them. Which means, like the iPod, the “coolness” factor dips a bit. Not so with your MessagePad. You could probably count on one hand the number of people who own one in your 50-mile radius. Kids these days love their retro and throwback technology – what serves that purpose better than a Newton?
  7. It still has fun games on it. Every cell phone in the world has Tetris and chess and tic-tac-toe. So does your Newton. If your gaming style is “simple” over “Crash Bandicoot Racing,” keep your Newton around. Many games can be had for free.
  8. You’ll never have activation problems. Maybe an error message now and again. But nothing on the scale of the “iPocalypse.”
  9. You already have a system that works. Why switch now? If your MessagePad fits your GTD needs already, switching to the iPhone involves setting up a whole new system. I, for one, am still trying to decide on what flavor of to-do app I want to use on my 3G. Save yourself the hassle.
  10. No AT&T involved. This goes along with point one, but really – any situation where you can avoid giant nation-wide media and communication carriers is a chance to show your shutzpah. Those of us who settled on buying an iPhone are still grappling with the catatonic depression that goes along with signing up with AT&T. And the fact that we had to wait in long lines to do so only strengthens the insult. Do your own thing. Hold your Newton tight.
  11. Your Newton is a “project” device. This is what originally drew me to the MessagePad. Setting up wifi and Bluetooth, sending and receiving e-mails, playing around with third-party apps and games, even syncing with OS X – the Newton gives you weekend projects that satisfy your inner DIY’er. The iPhone? Too easy. Unless you’re an app developer or a jailbreaker – in which case, Mr. Jobs would like to have a word with you – the iPhone is a device of convenience and comfort. You don’t even need Apple’s permission to make applications for the Newton. All you need is knowledge of NewtonScript, an inner drive, and a mild case of masochism.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m loving my iPhone. Just the camera and the GPS are worth the madness that I lived through that Friday in July.

Anything I haven’t thought of? Have a different point of view? Let me know in the comments.

Apple ‘Let’s Rock’ updates: a ‘Pod,’ now more than ever

September 9th, 2008

Why call a music player an “iPod?”

Because, in time, that “Pod” will be much more than a music player. It will be a device to browse the web, play games, check e-mail, get things done, keep track of your contacts, and help you get fit with the right pair of shoes.

Is that what Apple was thinking when it first released the iPod in 2001?

Because that’s what an iPod is today. While the base model, the iPod Classic, is still mainly a music player, even it can play a few games and watch videos. The rest of them have become “pods” in the true sense of the word.

Back when the fruits of the iPhone/iTouch SDK were on display, it dawned on me that “iPod” is now the perfect name for what Apple’s media device does. It’s not an “iWalkman” anymore.

Essentially, the Newton MessagePad was a mini-computer: something to help you write documents and make up spreadsheets and track your contacts and do some database work. Yes, there were games, and yes, you could even listen to music – but it was primarly a work machine, even if the work it did was in your home.

The iPod, and it’s iPhone offshoot, is a consumer of media. You put stuff on it, or search stuff out, to keep entertained. That could be reading or music or TV shows or whatever. And you can get work done on the iPod/iPhone (e-mail, calendar, third-party apps), but it wasn’t made exclusively for work like the Newton was.

As months go by, we see more and more why “iPod” is a perfect name. Even if Apple didn’t intend it, it’s money-making media device’s name fits like a glove. You hold this thing in your hands, and it has access to the whole world. No wires! Like magic! It’s your pod – your iPod.

Anymore, the iPod Shuffle is the sole music-only device left in the iPod lineup. It does what it does, and nothing else, just like the original iPod did (in fact, Gizmodo argues change is bad).

The only true evolution of the Newton platform was the eMate, which included a built-in keyboard. Every other MessagePad kept the simple idea: scribble stuff on a screen with a stylus. The MessagePad got faster and bigger and could include more apps, but it essentially kept the original idea intact.

Not so with the iPod. Apple has driven it from a music player to a music player/video watcher to a music player/video watcher/Internet browser/App runner/Save the World device.

Part of me wonders whether some of this stuff – the shake to shuffle, the Cover Flow – is needed, when some basic issues of the iPod Touch/iPhone platform remain unresolved. Maybe because it’s easier?

Either way, the focus doesn’t shift totally away from music from here on out. People buy iPod mainly to carry their music around. But how much more can the iPod lineup evolve in terms of music? Most of the revolutionary stuff we’ve seen has come from apps and games and cloud computing stuff. Music is there, but it’s only a fraction of the “pod-ness” of the iPod now.

So the name fits even better – more so than iTunes, which controls far more than your tunes these days (“iDock” is more like it).

Is anyone worried about the dreaded “feature creep,” like Gizmodo is? Does today’s “Let’s Rock” event show the iPod’s attempt to cover too much?